Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Awareness: Causes, Symptoms, Stages, and Treatments
Hearing the word cancer is enough to fill the stomach with dread fluttering with butterflies.
First and foremost, if you are diagnosed with cancer, please try not to stress. We know it is easier said than done, but if detected early, it can be managed like a chronic illness.
What Is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease in which genetically damaged cells multiplies wildly, depriving healthy tissues of nutrients and oxygen.
Some of these genetic changes naturally occur when DNA is replicated during the process of cell division.
Others are the outcome of ecological toxin exposure that damages DNA.
Scientists believe that there are as many types of cancer as there are people who have cancer, and that at any given time, many of us have cancer cells somewhere in the body.
Learn About Stomach Cancer
No one wants to learn that their stomach has been invaded with cells poised to destroy it and metastasize (spread) throughout the body.
So, let's approach stomach cancer from a statistics point of view.
In the 1930s, stomach cancer was the leading cause of cancer related deaths.
In 2020, the American Cancer Society predicts that there will be 27,600 new cases of people that will be diagnosed with stomach cancer cases in the United States.
Of the 334 million people in the United States, the chances of contracting stomach cancer is 1 in 95 for men and 1 in 154 for women.
The numbers have dropped dramatically, thanks to improvement in medicine in gut health, detoxification and probiotic supplementation and making the right enhancements to your everyday lifestyle.
What Is Stomach Cancer?
Stomach cancer cells normally begins in the mucus-producing cells that line the stomach called adenocarcinoma.
Stomach cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the stomach that is strongly associated with poor diet.
Types of Stomach Cancer
The various types of gastric or stomach cancer are:
- Adenocarcinoma - The most common type of stomach or gastric cancer that generally begins in the mucus glands that line the lower part of the esophagus.
- Lymphoma - Cancer that ignites in the lympocytes, which are the infection fighting cells of the immune system.
- Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GISTS) - A type of tumor that occurs in the intestinal tract. These growths are thought to expand from specialized cells found in the small intestines called interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs).
- Carcinoid Tumors - A rare tumor that ignites in the hormone-producing cells of the stomach.
Causes of Stomach Cancer
The list of possible causes of stomach cancer are lengthy but we have identified some common risk factors.
What Causes Stomach Cancer:
- Abdominal radiation
- Atrophic Gastritis / Chronic Inflammation
- Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) - a germ or type of bacteria that can enter your body, live in your digestive tract and have the ability to turn into inflammation and pre-cancerous ulcers in the upper part of the small intestine or stomach lining.
- Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV, human herpesvirus 4) - a contagious virus in the herpes family that is known for causing mononucleosis.
- Pernicious Anemia - a type of anemia brought on by the body's inability to absorb Vitamin B12.
- Poor Diet
- Environmental Chemical Exposure
- Prior Gastric Surgery
- Overweight / Obesity
Statistics show that smokers, chronic gastritis, men, people over 55, and those of African-American, Asian and Hispanic descent, are all at a higher risk of contracting stomach cancer.
Moreover, those who have a family history of gastric cancer or one of the following inherited genetic mutations are at a high risk of contracting stomach cancer:
- BRCA1 & BRAC2
- E-cadherin / CDH1
- Lynch syndrome
- Familial adenomatous polyposis
Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
- Zinc deficiency
- Persistent fatigue
- Vomiting blood
- Severe indigestion or nausea
- Feeling of fullness, bloating or discomfort after eating small meals
- Intense Stomach Pain
- Chronic gastritis (Inflammation of the stomach)
- Abnormal tarry, dark, black feces
- Trouble swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
Stages of Stomach Cancer
Following are the five stages of gastric cancer:
- Stage 0 (carcinoma in situ) - abnormal cells are detected in the innermost lining of the mucosa.
- Stage I - cancer may have spread to the submucosa of the stomach wall, 1 or 2 lymph nodes near the tumor, or to the muscle layer of the stomach wall.
- Stage II - cancer may spread to more lymph nodes and is growing into deeper muscle layers of the stomach wall.
- Stage III - cancer may have spread throughout the lymph nodes or through all of the layers of the stomach and adjacent structures.
- Stage IV - the most advanced form of gastric cancer that has spread beyond the stomach throughout various parts of the body.
Stomach Cancer Treatment
Can Stomach Cancer Be Cured?
Depending on the stage of your cancer, preference and/or physical wellbeing, you may decide to undergo one of the following forms of treatment.
- Full or Partial Stomach Cancer Surgery
- Radiation Therapy
- Chemoradiation Therapy
- Targeted Stomach Cancer Therapy
- Palliative Pain Relief Care
It can, however, be difficult to treat stomach cancer cells due to the fact that gastric cancer is generally not diagnosed until it's at an elevated stage.
Foods To Avoid With Stomach CancerOne of the key factors to fighting stomach cancer is maintaining healthy weight.
Staying away from these specific foods will have an immense impact on your health and survival.
1. Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol is known to increase inflammation, and is known to increase the risk of stomach cancer.
2. Fried Food
Fried foods are now being associated with an increase risk of cancer, as well as a decrease in gut health. This combination can be detrimental with stomach cancer, especially since maintaining a healthy weight is critical to fighting cancerous cells.
3. Salted Foods
Overconsumption of highly salted foods can increase cholesterol levels and can lead to a 70% increased risk for stomach cancer.
4. Refined Grains and Flour
Replace refined grains with whole grains and dietary fiber because refined grains and flour are known to raise inflammation levels and can increase permeability (leaky gut).
Refined grains got their name because they are processed to the point where the fiber and essential nutrients have been stripped, leaving very little nutrition.
Refined grains can be found in the following foods:
- Basmati Rice
- Oat Bran
- Oat Flour
- White Flour
- White Rice
- White Potatoes
- Traditional Pasta
- White Bread
- Breakfast Cereal
- Cream of Wheat
- Corn Flour
- Potato Chips
5. Processed Meat
Processed meat - any meat that has undergone salting, curing, smoking or treated with some other form of preservative or flavor enhancer - is particularly harmful.
Processed meat contain various chemicals that can cause cancer or lead to the growth of cancerous cells.
Common examples of processed meat are:
- Corned beef
- Traditional deli meat
- Hot dogs
- Most meat at fast food restaurants
A study found that those who ate red meat and processed meat such as red-colored and cold cuts doubled their risk of stomach cancer. In people with H. pylori, the risk increased fivefold if red meat and processed meat were consumed.
Nitrates are chemical compounds produced naturally. They are used to add color and flavor to food. Recently, they have been classified as possibly carcinogenic.
The consumption of nitrates in cured or processed fish and red meat may contribute to the development of stomach cancer.
Nitrates are converted to cancer-causing bacteria in the stomach, and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the bacterium most closely linked to this process.
Nutritional Foods to Consider with Stomach Cancer
A diet rich in whole foods incorporated with a healthy lifestyle will enhance your well-being overall.
Food is powerful medicine that have the ability to help fight cancer at a cellular level.
Protein have been shown to repair the body after damaging cancer treatments.
Organic Soy Based Food
Moderate consumption of soy food may improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of cancer.
It helps prevent relapse because it can lower PSA (proteins produced by cancerous cells) levels.
Soy foods include:
- Soy based products
- Meat substitutes
It is important to highlight that eating large amounts of soy food for 6 or more months may cause problems.
Whole grains are high in fiber which makes them effective in lowering PSA levels.
Whole grains are also essential for maintaining healthy weight.
Whole grain foods include:
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat bread, pasta, and/or crackers
Healthy fats are fats that the body can use for energy, rather than adding to the waistline. Including them in your diet during this trial of life can boost your energy, lower your risk of infection, and help your body heal from treatment.
Healthy fats include:
- Chia seeds
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fatty fish
- Raw nuts
Cancer Fighting Foods
No food group can cure cancer, but many foods can enhance the immune system, which may aid in slowing the growth of tumors thanks to the minerals located within.
Many vegetables are rich with cancer fighting proteins, particularly those that are green or orange in color.
We encourage you to eat fresh vegetables in abundance, especially:
- Bok choy
- Brussel sprouts
- Mustard greens
- Green beans
- Lentinan / Shiitake (fresh or dried)
A Japanese study found “excellent” results in treating stomach cancer with lentinan, in people with normal protein levels.
Amino acid supplementation helps lentinan work better.
Like vegetables, many fruits have shown evidence that they can help the cancer fight and act as a preventive measure.
These fruits include:
- Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
- Citrus fruit
- Purple and red grapes
Eating fruit and vegetables may be particularly effective for reducing gastric cancer risk. There are numerous benefits to a diet that’s rich in them, but fruit and vegetables aren’t the only cancer preventive foods.
Some others include:
- Green Tea
- Linseed Oil
- Vitamin D
Probiotics and How They Can Help
Probiotic food and probiotic supplements have become increasingly popular, as they contain healthy bacteria to improve gut health.
For gastric cancer, probiotics get rid of cancer-causing infections and stop growth.
The best probiotic supplements should contain at least 40 billion colony forming units of healthy bacteria, if you’re looking for a trustworthy brand to begin daily supplementation.
Consult with your doctor before supplementing with probiotic foods or probiotic supplements if you have a weakened immune system or chronic illness.
The Benefits of Amino Acid Supplementation
Protein is one of the essentials when it comes to recovering from treatment. Yet, it can be hard to stomach after the body just went through so much.
A great alternative to this is amino acid supplementation from clean protein powder.
It can be easily digestible in a drink or added to your favorite gut healthy smoothie recipe with the same effect.
Near the top of the list for best protein powder is whey.
Whey protein powder contains 8 essential and 9 non-essential nutrient’s cancer patients need while being light on the stomach.
NATUREAL makes a clean and healthy protein powder, available in a travel size packet to ensure you never miss a nutritional meal. Simply add water, stir and enjoy a complete meal faster than it takes to boil water.
Our protein powder is free of GMO, gluten, and other harsh preservatives while delivering 25 grams of protein and 130 calories per serving.
Stomach Cancer Wellness Recommendations: Create Healthy Habits
One of the benefits of the Natureal Now Community is that we take a holistic approach to educate to empower you to proactively focus on long-term well-being.
- Physical activity
- Healthy eating
- Sleeping for at least 7-8 hours a night
- Practicing self-care
- Think positive
- Be mindful of your individual health and environment
There are mental health changes that may naturally result from the diagnosis of cancer such as the fear of the unknown, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and stress.
If these symptoms persist long after cancer has been treated or in remission, consult with a loved one, doctor and/or therapist to help you create mind-body lifestyle habits, including deep diaphragmatic breathing, meditating, stretching and light activities that you enjoy while coping with acute or chronic stress triggered by this disease.
When Is Cancer Awareness?
World Cancer Day is an international day on February 4th to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage detection, prevention and treatment.
Stomach Cancer Awareness Month is the entire month of November, which is designed to raise awareness about gastric cancer.
If you found this article on stomach cancer helpful, share it so someone else so they can make enhancements to their daily lifestyle regimen.